Interregnum: Rule of the Major Generals

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The Rule of the Major Generals

The Rule of the Major Generals was a 15 month period of direct miliarty government during Oliver Cromwell's Protectorate.

  • The failure of the First Protectorate Parliament discouraged Cromwell from further attempts to cooperate with civilian politicians, and a series of Royalist insurrections that culminated in Penruddock's Uprising in the spring of 1655 convinced him that stringent secuirty measures should be enforced. 
  • Cromwell also believed that the failure of the Western Design to the West Indes was a sign of God's displeasure at England's progress and that a godly reform of the nation's morals was urgently required.
  • During August and September 1655, Cromwell worked with John Lambert, John Desborough and Sir Glbert Pickering to finalise arrangements for the new system. The Major-Generals were formally commissioned on 11th October 1655 and proclaimed on 31 October.
  • The country was divided into 12 regions, each governed by a Major-General who was answerable only to the Lord Protector
  • The first duty of the M-G's was to maintain security by supressing unlawful assemblies, disarming Royalists "maligants" and apprehending thieves, robbers and…

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